Part 184: Creeper HollowCreeper Hollow
So here's where we are now. The two unfinishable levels notwithstanding, we have three systems to go. In terms of achievements, there are a total of four in the Alpha Sector. Two are for the final map we'll be doing in the virgilw system, which has a general one just for winning and another for winning ... in 60 seconds. Much like Farbor/Arca. That may not happen, but it's still down the road a bit. For the two, there's one for completing both maps in the Grauniad system; and one for a specific map in the MadMag system. That's where we are headed next, smack dab in the middle of the sector.
Just seems weird to have only two planets around after all the clutter we've seen these past months. Metroid is the achievement planet, so we'll save that for next and head first to Creeper Hollow, the site of today's (mis?) adventure.
That label there makes me wonder if there was a Creeper Hollow from a previous version of the game that I just don't remember. Or maybe it refers to the Sleepy Hollow story? In any case, small map with a handful of emitters and a couple of Spore Towers. No special briefing, and there's only one place we can start, so there's nothing to do but get going.
One of the nice things about small maps is the ability to image them without having to shrink the image and still see enough of it. The northeast is forced upon us, and Pulse Cannons on the heights are a must. I soon deactivate a couple of them, as it becomes obvious stopping the flow from the south is Job #1. With little room for collectors though I should have put a couple more up on the hills I think, energy demands will require starting Reactors almost immediately.
I realize that I have a chance to knock out the northern spore tower, but I don't realize it quite quickly enough to make it happen. Here the very last ammo packet is almost there, but the Nullifier is destroyed mid-firing sequence. Mission timer is 3:13, so it's not one where the spores come upon you immediately.
Because of the difference in distance and the fact that they are synchronized time-wise, the projectiles from both spore towers can be handled by a single beam. Meanwhile I've activated the middle cannon to keep from getting overrun on that hill.
I was not as observant and/or astute when it came to the western flank, and the creeper flowed over that position without me noticing. I've just lost one precious reactor here and will soon lose another while I desperately try to get a cannon up to defend my network and retreat everything that can be moved.
Quite often this kind of error can lose you this kind of level, and I could have just restarted. Might have been better off doing so, but I pressed on. Short on energy, it was a desperate race against time to get enough reactors up to dig myself out of this mess while trying to keep the overflow from becoming too severe and wiping me out. Whilst the creeper depths built up in the west - thank goodness for that river which had to fill up first before the tide came at me en masse - I found the creeper tantalizing close to knocking out more reactors here for an extended period along that northern edge.
I was able to hold out long enough to get enough energy to put up a fourth cannon, so that I could reclaim the northern heights. From there, I eventually repositioned to have two of them on the central hill, and for the time being I had once again established a secure perimeter.
After adding a pair of Mortars, I was able to begin a southward push to the closest emitter. Here I noticed the creeper was gradually receding. It had gotten a little hairy, but the strategic victory had now been won, and a thankfully pretty brief map-clearing was all that remained. I'm rather pleased that I was able to pull this one out on the first attempt though after being close to losing it.